December 6, 2011

From NEHJ: Division 1 prep school capsule previews

By Justin Churchill

Albany Academy
Coach: Eric Cavosie
2010-11 record: 28-7-1
Strengths: The Cadets had one of the program’s most successful seasons last year. The team was one win away from making the large school tournament final. Cavosie is a great leader.
Weaknesses: The team lost three senior goaltenders in the offseason, so experience between the pipes will be hard to come by.
Player to watch: Tyler Hynes (sr., F) Milton Academy celebrates its first New England prep title in 44 years last spring. (photo: Dave Arnold Photography)

Avon Old Farms
Coach: John Gardner (South Windsor, Conn.)
2010-11 record: 18-7-2
Strengths: Gardner may be Avon’s biggest strength, as he is one of the most storied coaches in all of prep hockey. As for his team, he has a good mix of upperclassmen this season. Senior forward Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn.) is poised to have a breakout season, and senior goaltender Michael Santaguida will look to have another good season.
Weaknesses: Avon will have a tough time putting up some of the same numbers as Mark Naclerio (20-28-48) and Greg Gozzo (26-20-46), who both graduated.
Players to watch: Doyle (3-9-12); Santaguida (.930 save pct.)

Belmont Hill
Coach: Jeremiah McCarthy
2010-11 record: 19-11-2
Strengths: New head coach Jeremiah McCarthy will be eager to prove his worth this season. McCarthy has a fairly good returning team with defense looking to be its strong point.
Weaknesses: The loss of Brandon McNally hurts the offense badly. The team also lost Jim Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) to juniors.
Player to watch: Dave Cunningham (sr., G, Arlington, Mass.)

Berkshire School
Coach: Dan Driscoll (Woburn, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 16-12-2
Strengths: Kevin Rooney (Canton, Mass.) will look to produce the same type of numbers (12-14-26) that he did last season.
Weaknesses: Riley Bourbonnais will be badly missed; the RPI commit has decided to play for Cedar Rapids in the USHL.
Player to watch: Rooney (sr., F)

Buckingham, Browne & Nichols
Coach: Terrence Butt
2010-11 record: 14-13-0
Strengths: There is a strong group of seniors on this team, particularly on defense, and experience will help this team improve further. Both of the team’s leading scorers return in Matt Pugh (Watertown, Mass.) and Luke Griffin (Arlington, Mass.).
Weaknesses: In terms of size, BB&N might be a bit undermatched, as there are quite a few smaller players on this team.
Players to watch: Pugh (14-23-37, sr., F); Griffin (12-22-34, sr., F); Aidan Hartigan (4-12-16, sr., D, Arlington, Mass.)

Canterbury School
Coach: Padraic McCarthy
2010-11 record: 6-25-1
Strengths: The Saints return a defensive core of Ryan Melvin, A.J DiRienzo and Scott Casley (Guilford, Conn.).
Weaknesses: Canterbury had a rough season last year, and there is not a lot of offensive experience returning.
Player to watch: DiRienzo (6-8-14, sr., D)

Choate Rosemary Hall
Coach: Patrick Dennehy
2010-11 record: 15-9-1
Strengths: A strong senior class full of developed players returns. Bill Seligman should have another good season at forward.
Weaknesses: Choate lost a fairly good team last year. Even though Dennehy does well bringing in new players, it’s hard to be in such a tough league as the Founders.
Players to watch: Seligman (7-21-28, sr., F); Alex Joyce (jr., G, Darien, Conn.); Ben Foster

Cushing Academy
Coach: Rob Gagnon (South Windsor, Conn.)
2010-11 record: 25-6-0
Strengths: Cushing will look to replicate the numbers it had last season. Every season, Gagnon’s team is a serious threat to win a title. Garrett Hehir (Auburn, Mass.) and Collin Bourque (Goffstown, N.H.) should provide some scoring ability upfront, while UMass-Lowell commit Corey Scammon should be a top defender.
Weaknesses: Last season’s leading scorer, Robbie Baillargeon (64 points), bolting for juniors is a tough loss.
Players to watch: Scammon (sr., D); Hehir (jr., F); Bourque (sr., F)

Deerfield Academy
Coach: Brendan Creagh (Hartford, Conn.)
2010-11 record: 9-12-4
Strengths: Ben Masella was a bright spot on the team last season, and the highly regarded defenseman should draw a lot of interest from opposing coaches this season.
Weaknesses: Deerfield is another decent team in the Founders League, but the tough league schedule has caught up to Deerfield in recent years.
Players to watch: Masella (3-6-9, sr., D)

Governor’s Academy
Coach: Leon Hayward
2010-11 record: 18-11-3
Strengths: Nathan Ferriero (Essex, Mass.), who is committed to Northeastern for 2013, should be another bright spot on the team this season. Last year’s leading scorer, Alex Minter (Peabody, Mass.), also is returning.
Weaknesses: The loss of last season’s No. 1 goaltender, Rory Burke, hurts the squad, and either Brendan McMenimen (Exeter, N.H.) or Nick Commesso (Marshfield, Mass.) will have to step up this season.
Players to watch: Ferriero (jr., F); Minter (sr., F)

The Gunnery
Coach: Chris Baudo
2010-11 record: 20-12-0
Strengths: The Gunnery made the small school tournament last season, losing to the New Hampton School in the semifinals. Boston University commit Jarrid Privitera was a large part of the team’s success last season (25-18-43).
Weaknesses: Privitera will be hurt by the loss of Drew Smolcynski to the USHL. Smolcynski was the team’s leading scorer last season (17-31-48).
Player to watch: Privitera (25-18-43, sr., F)

Holderness School
Coach: Alan Skelley
2010-11 record: 7-21-1
Strengths: Goaltender Andrew Munroe has had his name pop up everywhere after puting up decent numbers last season with a .902 save percentage. Francis Parenteauc also returns to the squad and likely will be the top forward after recording 34 points last season.
Weaknesses: The team seemed to let the second half of its season get away last year. It is important that the team stays healthy.
Players to watch: Munroe (.902 save pct., sr., G); Parenteauc (13-21-34, jr., F)

Hotchkiss School
Coach: Damon White
2010-11 record: 6-19-0
Strengths: Willy Sherman (Greenwich, Conn.), a 2014 Harvard commit, highlights Hotchkiss. The sophomore defenseman is a monster at 6-foot-5, and it’ll be interesting to see how the young player does after a quiet freshman season.
Weaknesses: Losing Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Petr Placek to graduation hurts the foundation of the team.
Players to watch: Sherman (0-4-4, soph., D); Mike Warner (8-11-19, sr., F)

Kent School
Coach: Matt Herr
2010-11 record: 21-6-0
Strengths: Cristoval “Boo” Nieves clearly is the best player in New England right now. Nieves led Kent to the championship game last season, but the team lost a close game to Milton, 2-1. The team could have the best offense in the league with Nieves and Ryan Rosenthal returning. Beware of Kent this season.
Weaknesses: If we have to pick one weakness on this team, it would be goaltending and that’s not even to say that the trio of goaltenders is weak.
Players to watch: Nieves (11-28-39, sr., F); Rosenthal (18-16-34, sr., F)

Kimball Union Academy
Coach: Mike Levine
2010-11 record: 25-7-4
Strengths: Mike Levine has taken over a great program in Kimball Union. Forward Tim Baylis (West Haven, Conn.) is the team’s returning leading scorer and is poised to have another solid season. Expect KUA to fight hard for a spot in the Elite Eight again this season.
Weaknesses: The team lost a lot of great players this past season, the most notable being leading scorer Dennis Kravchenko, who opted to play juniors. The team is fairly young so it will be fighting for results.
Players to watch: Baylis (20-17-37, sr., F); Jonathan Charbonneau (17-17-34, sr., F); Casey Miller (9-16-25, jr., F, Billerica, Mass.)

Lawrence Academy 
Coach: Kevin Potter
2010-11 record: 23-9-0
Strengths: Devin Tringale (Medford, Mass.) should help Lawrence get back to the Elite Eight this season. The senior, who is committed to Harvard, recorded 42 points last season. Be sure to look out for defenseman Jacob Schechter, who is coming off a good season.
Weaknesses: It is hard to pick a weakness in this team laden with experienced juniors and seniors, so maybe the weakness on this team will be for the future, as its underclassmen likely won’t get much experience this season.
Players to watch: Tringale (16-26-42, sr., F); Schechter (7-10-17, sr., D)

Loomis Chaffee School
Coach: Bob Howe
2010-11 record: 3-20-2
Strengths: Not much changed for Loomis Chaffee last season, but this season is a new year for the Pelicans. Mitch Vangameren returns to the team and most likely will improve on his numbers from last season.
Weaknesses: Loomis is really hurt by the loss of Stephan Michalek to graduation. The goaltender was drafted by the Minnesota Wild, which understates his value to Loomis.
Player to watch: Vanagemeren (5-12-17, sr., F)

Millbrook School
Coach: Vincent Sorriento
2010-11 record: 10-16-3
Strengths: Millbrook’s best offensive player last season, 6-foot-2 Kevin Altidor, returns for his senior season. Top defenseman Carl D’Amour-Belizario also returns.
Weaknesses: By all accounts, a slow start stalled Millbrook last season. If the team wants to be competitive, it must start strong.
Players to watch: Kevin Altidor (sr., F); Carl D’Amour-Belizario (D)

Milton Academy
Coach: Paul Cannata (West Roxbury, Mass)
2010 record: 26-3-1
Strengths: Cannata has led Milton to great success in past seasons. Yale commit Rob O’Gara, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the summer, is one of the best defensemen in the league.
Weaknesses: This season may be tough for Milton. The defending New England champion lost a lot of good players to graduation, most notably Pat McNally, who was drafted by Vancouver.
Players to watch: O’Gara (2-7-9, sr., D); Jonah Dwyer (5-3-8, jr., F)

Noble and Greenough School
Coach: Brian Day
2010-11 record: 17-10-0
Strengths: Nobles were the last team selected in the Elite Eight last season. This season, the likes of Andrew Doane (Holliston, Mass.) and Brandon Shea (Marshfield, Mass.) will need to put up some good offense numbers to counteract some graduation losses. Shea may be one of the best sophomores in the league.
Weaknesses: Losing a player such as Matt Harlow to graduation always will hurt an offense. Harlow recorded 47 points last season.
Players to watch: Doane (9-32-41, sr., F); Shea (16-18-34, soph., F)

Northfield Mount Hermon
Coach: Tom Pratt
2010-11 record: 17-10-3
Strengths: Always a feisty team in the NEPSHC East, Northfield Mount Hermon should have a decent team this season. Riley Dickie is the team’s top returning scorer, while Conor Moriarty will be a top returning blueliner.
Weaknesses: The era of the Cangelosi brothers is now over at the school. They will be missed offensively.
Players to watch: Dickie (15-8-23, sr., F); Moriarty (2-4-6, jr., D); Bron Loiselle (9-13-22, jr., F)

Pomfret School
Coach: Bruce Wolanin
2010-11 record: 13-12-2
Strengths: Wolanin had a pretty good season last year, making the small school tournament. Pomfret will be led by forward Billy Beirnies and defenseman Nick Bennett (Greenville, R.I.) this season.
Weaknesses: Wolanin lost all three of his top scorers in the offseason. The team played a tough schedule last season, which could be its downfall this season.
Players to watch: Beirnies (16-14-30, sr., F); Bennett (1-2-3, sr., D)

Phillips Andover
Coach: Dean Boylan (Boston, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 8-17-0
Strengths: Last season seemed like a rebuilding year for Andover. This season, Boylan returns a mix of juniors and seniors and a group of three goaltenders, who spilt time last season. A lot of talent lies within the sophomore class, so the future is promising.
Weaknesses: Losing T.J. Hickey and Andrew Sullivan hurts the team offensively as the two had a combined point total of 53 last season.
Players to watch: Eddie Ellis (10-14-24, soph., F, Burlington, Mass.); Seamus O’Neill (2-11-13, jr., F, Amherst, Mass.)

Phillips Exeter Academy
Coach: Dana Barbin (Exeter, N.H.)
Record: 12-15-0
Strengths: Brian Hart (Cumberland, Maine) is committed to Harvard and is easily Exeter’s best player. Post-grad Matt Beattie also should be pretty good.
Weaknesses: The loss of Eric Neilly to college hurts Exeter. Neilly was injured most of last season but returned for the final 10 games of the season and put up an amazing 40 points.
Players to watch: Hart (29-32-61); Beattie

St. Paul’s School
Coach: Mark Bozek (Manchester, N.H.)
2010-11 record: 13-13-0
Strengths: Cornell commit Ryan Bliss (Bedford, N.H.) is being molded into a solid blueliner by Bozek. Josh Dickman returns as the team’s leading scorer.
Weaknesses: St. Paul’s lost quite a few close games last season, so it seems that finishing out games has been a problem. Mike Huber (Hanover, N.H.) most likely will get a lot of chances in net this season even though he does not have a lot of prep experience.
Players to watch: Bliss (1-2-3, soph., D); Dickman (10-13-23, sr., F)

St. Sebastian’s School
Coach: Sean McCann
2010-11 record: 15-10-2
Strengths: This is a team full of potential NCAA Division 1 players. Boston University commit Danny O’Regan (Needham, Mass.) will be a top offensive player in the league again this season. Brendan Burke (Westwood, Mass.) is another dangerous forward.
Weaknesses: The defense of this team has nowhere near the amount of talent that the offense has. The blueliners are still a decent group, but St. Sebastian’s has a powerful offense.
Players to watch: O’Regan (25-24-49, sr., F); Burke (20-21-41, sr., F); Joe Prescott (19-23-42, sr., F, Norwell, Mass.)

Salisbury School
Coach: Andrew Will
2010-11 record: 22-5-0
Strengths: Salisbury is this season’s team to beat. With returning forwards such as Philip Zielonka and John Hotchkiss (West Haven, Conn.), Salisbury is going to score plenty of goals this season. Defensively, the team returns Marc Biega and Penn State commit Thomas Welsh.
Weaknesses: The biggest question mark for Salisbury is goaltending. Tim Ernst did not have a lot of experience in goal last season, but still put up great numbers when he was called upon.
Players to watch: Zielonka (19-21-40, sr, F); Hotchkiss (16-8-24, sr., F); Biega (6-7-13, sr., D); Welsh (2-7-9, sr., D)

Tabor Academy
Coach: Gerry Dineen (Bourne, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 13-13-0
Strengths: Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) is a strong offensive power, while Brian Ouellette (Arlington, Mass.) is a top defensemen. The defensive core of this team should improve from the results last season.
Weaknesses: Tabor lost a lot of its offense to graduation. It likely will be up to underclassmen and some lesser-known seniors to step up production.
Players to watch: Salvucci (16-16-32, sr., F); Ouellette (5-9-14, sr., D)

Taft School
Coach: Dan Murphy (New Haven, Conn.)
2010-11 record: 13-12-0
Strengths: Taft returns all three goaltenders from last season, including senior Jimmy Harrison, who posted a .916 save percentage.
Weaknesses: With such a strong defense last season, the lack of wins clearly fell on the offense. With the losses of Mike Moran and Sean McGovern, Taft has a lot of work ahead.
Player to watch: Harrison (.916 save pct., sr., G)

Thayer Academy
Coach: Tony Amonte (Hingham, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 6-19-0
Strengths: Jay Matthews is the team’s top returning scorer and will be a focal point of Amonte’s offense.
Weaknesses: Last year’s hyped team did not live up to expectations. This season, it is clear that the team needs to step up. Thayer looked great at the start of last season but fell by the wayside once it hit the new year.
Players to watch: Matthews (8-9-17)

Tilton School
Coach: Patrick Norton (Concord, N.H.)
Record: 22-10-3
Strengths: Tilton had a very good season last year, and it will be returning a good chunk of its players. Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.), Tilton’s top returner, put up great numbers in his junior season.
Weaknesses: The loss of goalie William Flachsbinder will be noticed, as Flachsbinder played a majority of the minutes last season and put up great numbers.
Players to watch: Flaherty (19-36-55, sr., F); Kyle Larson (24-16-40, sr., F)

Trinity Pawling School
Coach: Rob Hutchison
2010-11 record: 9-16-1
Strengths: Vincent Muto is one the top scoring blueliners in New England. Last season, he picked up 23 total points and was the team’s fourth-leading scorer.
Weaknesses: Trinity’s biggest problem is playing in such a tough league. If the team weren’t in the Founders League, it might earn about eight more wins a year and make the playoffs.
Player to watch: Muto (6-17-23, sr., D)

Westminster School
Coach: Tim Joncas (Branford, Conn.)
2010-11 record: 20-6-3
Strengths: Westminster is another great team coming out of the Founders League. The team returns its top offensive line, which will be led by Emilo Audi. Yale commit Patrick Spano also returns and may be the league’s top goaltender.
Weaknesses: The only thing that might hurt the team this season is its tough schedule.
Players to watch: Audi (12-27-39, sr., F); Spano (.927 save pct., sr., G)

Williston Northampton School
Coach: Derek Cunha (New Bedford, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 6-19-2
Strengths: Cunha is simply a good coach. Last season may have been a slump for his team, but Williston Northampton likely will bounce back this season. Northeastern commit Ross Olsson will be a player to look out for, and leading scorer Alex Paolo (Hope, R.I.) should also have another good season.
Weaknesses: A slow start haunted Cunha and his team last season, and he’ll look to start strong this season.
Player to watch: Paolo (19-14-33, sr., F)

Winchendon School
Coach: Sean Hayes
Record: 14-20-1
Strengths: Winchendon has a lot of returning players. One player that may stand out is leading scorer Michael Restuccia (Malden, Mass.), who scored 24 goals last season.
Weaknesses: There are often a lot of post-grads at Winchendon, so team chemistry may be the biggest weakness.
Players to watch: Restuccia (24-15-39, sr., F)

Capsules originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal. Justin Churchill can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.